Red Post Collection: Context on Kass PBE changes, The Future of EU West, and more!

Posted on at 5:47 AM by Moobeat
This morning's red post collection features a heaping helping of context on the recent Kassadin PBE changes,  the EU managing director with a large post on the future of EU West, a few ideas on Taric and Eve's VU, and more Heimer & Xerath rework discussion!
Continue reading for more information!

Context on Kassadin PBE changes

Meddler dropped by the forums to deliver a bit of context on the recent Kassadin change that have popped up on the PBE ( 1st set on 10/16 and second set on 10/17 )
"We've got a few goals with the Kassadin ult changes: 
1. Reward aggressive uses of the ult. 
2. Look at shifting some damage from the Q to the ultimate (the more engaging and risk requiring spell). 
3. Add some reward for AP on the ult stacks - at present AP's insufficiently rewarded, since there's no ratio on the ult stacks, making mana a much more attractive option much of the time. Having a champion that wants mana a lot more than others is good, not providing sufficient reward for AP however's something we'd like to improve.

How exactly we achieve those goals however's still being assessed, hence the different versions being tested. Something we're trying out at the moment is putting some more work in progress stuff on the PBE to get feedback earlier and give you folks a bit more visibility into our development/balancing process. These Kassadin changes and the current Xerath rework (which is undergoing revision every couple of days at the moment on the PBE) are good examples of that in action. Xerath for instance is not going out in the next patch so he's on the PBE earlier than normal for reworks."
He continued, explaining why Kass's MR per level was removed:
"While we're trying to reward some types on play on Kassadin we're also looking to remove a bit of power. The removal of his MR per level is the result of that and was chosen (over nerfing his passive potentially instead) because it doesn't substantially impact his early game, when he struggles as is, and instead primarily targets mid game onwards."
As for shifting power to his W in the future, Meddler commented:
"The power in the W tends to be most accessible to him when he's already winning and Kassadin's not a champion at all short on snowball potential as is. Additionally it's also the least satisfying skill on his kit and that's not just a power issue but a nature of its current design (moderate duration auto attack enhancer on a champion whose kit doesn't particularly support auto attacking otherwise) . If shifting power to it would be inclined to rework the skill a bit. No current plans, but when he's due for a visual upgrade it's the sort of thing we'd investigate as a possibility."

Quips on Taric and Eve VU

When askedTaric will retain his mace/shield combo after any sort of future VU, IronStylus mentioned:
"Great question. I have an idea about maybe giving him a crystallizing buckler. The giant shield right now is really crowding his visual real estate and making the hammer really awkward. Awkward in the way Sejuani's shield was making her feel. I have this crazy idea of a small shield on his arm growing crystal and shattering. Sort of like.. applying Lissandra-tech to it. No idea if it's going to work however."

When Evelynn's VU came up, he noted:
"Well, if I end up doing her final design, it'll be informed by the designs I started messing with, which has.. let's say.. less than reasonable amounts of armor."

The Future of EU West

Errigal, EU's managing director, has posted a status update on the future of EU West, providing an update on the server and Riot's ongoing efforts to solve it's problems.
"Greetings Summoners, 
I would like to introduce myself and talk about the stability problems we have been having in Europe. My name is Paul Breslin and my role at Riot is to head up Europe. Our top priority is delivering the stable platform you deserve. The recent problems on EUW stem from a storm of capacity, Internet connectivity and patch updates issues. As a player, I know this is not good enough and I would like to talk about what we are doing to level up our services dramatically for Europe. 
First, I’d like to tackle a claim that really hurts to read – the idea that Riot doesn't care about EUW players. I can personally promise to you that this isn’t the case. Improving service here is a top priority across Riot and I promise you no one is blind to the pain you’ve been experiencing. It’s an historic problem for European players, I get that – but it’s one we’re truly dedicated to solving. 
New EU Server Centre – We have been building a brand new facility in Amsterdam to house the EU servers. We’re building it with the latest designs in infrastructure, all new hardware and bigger/more servers than the current facility has. It will be the newest datacentre for any Riot region, and will be the latest in terms of overall system architecture. This is a massive undertaking that’s already been in the works for several months, and it’s not something that can happen overnight. I hope we can share some more behind-the-scenes details from the new data centre once it’s ready to power on. 
Dedicated EUW strike team – On top of the team working on the long-term solution of the new data centre, we also have a dedicated strike team of Rioters from many different disciplines, who are responsible for the stability of EUW. The team is headed by Riot TMX from Europe. To give example of what the strike team do, over the past couple of weeks they have upgraded load balancing hardware, added chat servers, and diversified our internet connectivity by adding more circuits to our data centres. As a result, we’re seeing less impacted playtime on EUW over the last week and that trend is continuing to improve. 
Communication – You’re all absolutely right that a big weakness here (and one of the core reasons European players rightly feel neglected) is that our communication around service issues hasn’t been timely or sufficient in the past. We’ve taken great care to solve this, and I hope you’ve noticed an improvement in the visibility, frequency, and quality of our communications during recent service interruptions on the forums. Feedback is greatly appreciated here. 
Riot Direct – We know that the internet routing from you to our servers isn’t always ideal. In the past we’ve worked with partners and our datacentres to help direct traffic from you to our servers, but there are constraints that we weren’t willing to accept. With that in mind, we will be taking over the management of network traffic from players to our servers. We’ll be able to change how player traffic hits our servers, and can react quickly to changes/service disruptions and can constantly fine tune traffic flow to best suit players. 
Game Metrics – We are building performance monitoring tools into the game client and server that will allow us to track framerate, network performance, and a host of other performance metrics. This new layer of monitoring will alert us to make pre-emptive adjustments to network and game settings to prevent or limit any impact on players.

I hope this gives you better visibility on the issues and reassures you that our top priority is to deliver the game experience we know you deserve. As the above initiatives come online we’ll go more in depth about them ahead of time to make sure everyone is aware of the changes."

When asked about this new center and how it will effect everyone's ping, RiotGeneral noted:
"We have not fully committed on what services will migrate to Amsterdam and what services will remain in our current data center. However it is the responsibility of Riot Direct to bring optimal ping to EVERYONE in Europe regardless of platform. We have some really smart dudes building relationships with major ISPs in Europe to optimize the latency for players as soon as possible."
When asked for more details about Riot Direct, RiotGeneral noted:
"I can't get into to much detail about the amount, but I can say that we are significantly increasing our upstream capacity and taking our routed edge to the edge of some pretty serious ISPs in Europe. 
With every ISP we add, we bring the routed "hops" closer and closer to the players until (hopefully), all traffic will take the optimal route to and from the data center, and the overall latency for players will lower.

We can't promise green ping for 100% or players, but the goal of Riot Direct is to bring the *Green* to as many players as possible."

Responding to a comment that Riot should "just add more servers", Chager mentioned:
"We've actually added a lot of servers to the EUW infrastructure in the recent past, but there is a point where you hit a diminishing return for adding servers because the entire infrastructure needs to be redone. Amsterdam gives us the opportunity to go through and completely rebuild it and to make changes and advances based off the lessons we've learned since EUW was built. So yup new servers, and more of them, but also a better layout and configuration."

Simple and Recolor Skins

IronStylus briefly commented on a thread where summoner inquired if we'd ever have more recolors or simple skins released to fill out each champions skin selection.
"I'll go check on this matter again. I think there was some internal discussion on it, but I'm not sure how it panned out. 
To clarify, we're not going to do any "recolors", as in, same geometry of the model, just a texture or pallet swap on the existing geo. If "recolors" were done it'd probably happen similar to how we went about re-doing old skins for newly VU'd champions. Master Yi is a decent example of this I feel.

Again, no idea how the discussion turned out, but I'll poke my nose around. I'm in favor of a simple tier of skins, but I'm not 100% certain as to what the feelings of the team are."

Heimer Feedback Continues

Continuing with the recent tradition, 20thCenturyFaux has returned to the Heimer rework thread to discuss a few things!

He started off the night with a reminder when brainstorming ideas for a new Heimer passive:
"A couple important things to keep in mind when brainstorming passive ideas:
  • It's about shared goals, not popularity: whatever gets Heimer in the best state is what I'll go with 
  • Try to "yes and" people whenever possible: This is a collaborative process--more like a co op game than mario kart, there's no banana peels here 
  • I am going to be a huge jerk dictator about the first bullet point: Definitely want to stress that agreeing we want a new passive isn't the same as having found one 
  • Think positive!: Negativity has its place, but in pure brainstorming an atmosphere of positivity creates the most effective result 
We all care a lot about this lil champ of ours, it's important to remember not to step on each others' toes in the rush ^^"

He also mentioned adding a new particle to show where Heimer's R + E grenade will bounce:
"Also I forget who suggested it but I got the special RE targeter in, it now shows where all the bounces will go (won't be on PBE till next build)"
He also warned to be on the look out for bugs when testing!
"Heads up, I did a huge cleanup / reorg thing with Heimer's scripts today (touched something like 700 files). There might be some weird bugs for the next little while xD"

More on Xerath's Rework

Likewise we also have more discussion on Xerath's looming rework.

Xelnath started by responding to a summoner claiming that even post rework Xerath is outclassed by both other mages and assassains.
"Let's talk about this point. Which mages out class him? I actually feel like Xerath might be incredibly more powerful and have a wider sphere of influence than many midlanes.

Leblanc, Assassins, etc should still kill Xerath. That's appropriate for the amount of payload Xerath can unload at the ranges he has. You don't get power without clear weaknesses. Melee assassins >> Xerath if they close. Xerath >> if he has peel and can keep distance."

He moved on to discussing the reworked kit's current vs his original kit, including some of the trade offs made in the transition:
"Anyways, yes, this kit has traded out periods of immobility and periods of fast mobility for a smoother movement scale on Q and a fun attack sequence on W.

This kit does not have hard combos. That is correct. W->E->Q was really the only variation Xerath had on live for closing in on stuns, excluding the mobile R case.

Let's look back at the goals of the rework:

* Keep the good abilities
* Reduce clunkiness
* Create skill options
* Satisfy the siege/sniper fantasy better
* Maximize range and damage over CC

Before, E -> Q or E -> R were about it. W->Q was basically one skill. W -> E by itself was pointless. W -> E -> Q was his CC.

That was it. That was the depth of the character. You had rigidly defined instructions, not options. Now you have the option to start with W to setup an E stun to guarantee a Q hit, or fish for an E stun to guarantee a W center shot, followed up by a Q.

I will gladly concede that maxing E first on Xerath is not really an option. It did not seem like a viable option to me before on Live Xerath easier.

Finally, Q charging on its own lets you snipe consistently. R is far more clearly a siege, finishing ability. (Perhaps so much that it should have missing % health damage? That would damage its effectiveness for opening a team fight though)

The things the kit does not have that I could not find a healthy way to preserve were:

1) A highly selective stun
2) Free massive amounts of armor driven by AP (This also felt unnecessary and out of character)
3) Hard Combos (He has soft combos instead)"

He continued, explaining the need for things summoner's are disliking - including the E's "warning" particle and the Q's cast and charge time.
"E needs the warning to communicate the path and behaviour to the opponent. It is intended that using this ability for personal safety instead of opening up a window to attack is less effective, since its basically a guaranteed success without the need for a skill shot now.

Q *must* have a delay before firing - otherwise it is not possible to avoid such a long range attack. The base Q range is pretty hefty though - I highly recommend you try closing distance and just firing it off a few times - I've had decent success with this on PBE.

Q full-range charge is a trade of telegraphing your actions (creating counterplay opportunities for the opponent) for increases safety. Trade away that safety to take away their safety as well."
Xelnath also pointed out what the purpose of a rework is when faced with criticism that the reworked kit isn't a buff:
"My job is *not* to buff your character. I realize that is what you want. Live Xerath is not an underpowered champion who needed buffs. We are trying to make the healthiest champion that preserves the good mechanics of Xerath and fills the role that the many players we talked to, surveyed and interacted with indicated was their Xerath fantasy.

I, too, heavily mastered the clunky hero to gain access to his incredibly OP stats. That is why I recognize the pain you feel. However, that clunkiness pulled a lot of potential away from Xerath too." 

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